The One Tonne Life project has ended and the content on this web page is static and is not updated any more. The project was unique and pioneering, making the conclusions and all information connected to the project just as interesting and up-to-date today as when it was run. Read more about the project and get inspired! (March 2017)

One Tonne Life

Impressive finish in One Tonne Life

Sweden’s Environmental Affairs Minister Andreas Carlgren shut off the Energy Watch system today which marked the official closing of the One Tonne Life project. Together with Annika Ramsköld, Vattenfall and the Lindell family.

Sweden’s Environmental Affairs Minister Andreas Carlgren has today officially closed the “One Tonne Life” project in Hässelby just outside Stockholm. Over a period of six months, the Lindell family have lived climate-smart with their sights firmly set on reducing their emissions from the normal 7.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year to the minimal figure of just one tonne. Following an impressive final sprint, the Lindells finished at 1.5 tonnes. This means the family have succeeded in cutting their emissions by almost 80 percent compared with their start back in January.

When Andreas Carlgren switched off Vattenfall’s smart Energy Watch monitoring system in the “One Tonne Life” house, this marked the end of the groundbreaking trial by the Lindell family (father Nils, mother Alicja and children Hannah and Jonathan) to cut carbon dioxide emissions to one tonne per person per year. This corresponds to the level that will probably be necessary in order to avoid serious climate changes.
The family’s 80 percent drop shows that the government’s climate target of a 40 percent reduction in Swedish carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 is already within the reach of the average household using the best available know-how and technology.

“On our way down to 2.5 tonnes we didn’t have to make any major compromises in our everyday lifestyles. After that, however, things got tougher. Living at the 1.5 tonne level was an extreme experience for us,” comments Alicja Lindell.

“One Tonne Life” is a project in which A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Car Corporation along with partners ICA and Siemens create the necessary preconditions for a climate-smart household. Over a period of six months, the Lindells have switched from their normal 1970s villa and ten-year-old cars to a brand-new, climate-smart wooden house from A-hus and a battery-powered Volvo C30 Electric. Vattenfall has provided renewable electricity, new energy technology and energy coaching. ICA and Siemens are the project’s partners in the areas of food and household appliances.

Biggest reductions in transport and electricity consumption
Transport and electricity consumption are the areas where the family made the most progress.
Emissions from transport dropped by more than 90 percent, not least thanks to the fact that the family’s Volvo C30 Electric was recharged using electricity from hydro-power. The family’s house, built by A-hus, produces its own electricity and with supplementary renewable electricity from hydro-power, carbon dioxide emissions from purchased electricity are almost zero. All told, carbon dioxide emissions from the family’s home have been more than halved.

Food is the third area in which the family made immense progress. By not throwing away food and by choosing wisely, emissions were significantly reduced. By varying the choice of meat and eating more vegetables, anyone can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from food. Towards the end of the trial period, the Lindells ate only vegetarian dishes, and dairy produce was replaced with soya and oats-based alternatives.

Ambitious final sprint – but that “rucksack” weighed them down
In order to reduce their emissions still further, in the final 1.5-tonne week the family chose to reduce the size of their home by closing off one room and all its amenities.

“During that final sprint we avoided most of the food we usually eat. In addition there was no TV, no shopping and no going out to cafés or restaurants. But with a “rucksack” of 900 kilograms, it still isn’t possible to get all the way down to one tonne,” says Nils Lindell.

This “rucksack” consists of the carbon dioxide emissions that take place when various products are manufactured, such as the family’s house, solar panels, car, furniture and clothes.

“We were not able to influence emissions from the production. But we have been able to demonstrate that with the right know-how and motivation, it’s possible to get quite close to one tonne. Not only that, it’s been very enjoyable and a really educational adventure,” concludes Nils Lindell.

The Lindell family talking to Sweden’s Environmental Affairs Minister Andreas Carlgren in the One Tonne Life house.

Webisode #10 “The Last Tonne”

Follow the Lindell family!

During the One Tone Life project we document what happens in the life of the Lindell family on video. Here are all the webisodes (short episodes) that has been released so far. And as a bonus, the trailer for One Tonne Life. Enjoy!

The demo house in Gothenburg is not only efficient, it is also smart

ayControl app saves energy by controlling the house via iPhone and iPad

Reducing CO2 emissions definitely does not mean a reduction of comfort. In many cases it is the use of the newest technologies that makes more energy-efficient living possible. The One Tonne Life demonstration house in Gothenburg is a so-called Smart Home. This basically means, that it’s technical devices – such as lights, heating, etc. – are controlled by an intelligent electrical installation.

Besides using normals switches the demo house also can be easily controlled with the iPad or iPhone. The iPad app is called “ayControl KNX” and it brings both, comfort and also energy savings. For example, you sit downstairs and through the app you see which lights are lit on the top floor. You can extinguish them conveniently sitting on the couch. It’s as simple as pressing the off button in ayControl – directly on the iPad.

Modern Smart Homes can bring even more CO2 savings e.g. Lights can be programmed to only shine if the rooms are used and the blinds can be pulled up automatically to let in the sunlight if desired.

Read more
More Info about ayControl and Smart Homes

Cycling for lower emissions – part 1

The Lindells are keeping up the pressure. One way of cutting emissions still further is to cycle instead of taking public transport or the electric car. We offer here a few tips on cycles, both classic styles and innovative, more experimental, models, for added inspiration!

Naked and lightweight (above)
Sweden’s Skeppshult is renowned for its robust, traditionally designed cycles. With its Steel model, the company has upped the ante and created a cleaner, more naked and lightweight cycle with nothing more than the bare essentials. Here with a leather saddle and Brooks handlebar grips. Price: from 10,995 kronor

Classic foldable
The combination of cycle and public transport is not always easy since bikes are seldom welcome on buses and commuter trains in Sweden. You can solve the problem with a folding bike, here from Britain’s Brompton. Price: from 8,400 kronor

Cargo bikes
In cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, it is common to see two-wheeled cargo bikes carrying the weekly shopping or children. One sign that this trend is making its way to Sweden too is the fact that Dutch manufacturer De Fietsfabrik has opened a showroom in Stockholm. Price: from 22,900 kronor

Cargo with attitude
Bullitt, designed by Denmark’s Larry vs Harry, is what is known as a “longtail”, that is to say an extended cycle with a cargo area in front of the handlebars. Bullitt is available in 13 eye-catching colours and the frame is decorated with portraits of icons such as Che Guevara, Elvis and Einstein. Price: about 17,500 kronor

The family bike
Danish-designed trioBike is a carrier bike that quickly transforms into a “conventional” cycle and a pushchair that can for instance be used as a child’s pram. With two bikes and one pushchair one parent can take the kids to day-care while the other can pick them up at the end of the day. Price: 13,400 kronor (cycle), 12,700 kronor (pushchair)

What is One Tonne Life?

Is it possible to live carbon neutral today?

Every Swede contributes to the greenhouse effect with six to eight tonnes of CO2 per year.

With energy-smart housing, electric cars and clean energy, we could go on living almost as usual. Couldn't we? What does it really take for a family to live carbon neutral?